Tag Archives: Aaron Fuller

USC Playing & Losing a Tough Schedule

The band of castoffs was to be playing with a chip on their shoulder. From transfers to the healed, Kevin O’Neill’s squad came into this season as the great unknown. As such, they became the hipster pick – cool because is wasn’t cool – to make some noise in the conference. I picked them to finish as high as fourth!

Well the season’s now begun and the Trojans already have as many losses as their football team (too soon?). They sit at 3-5 and haven’t looked quite like a top team in the Pac. Jio’s still finding his sea legs, JT Terrell is shooting and not making, Aaron Fuller’s role is diminished, and defensively the team isn’t quite there yet. But the primary concern is their record.

These guys have played a hellacious schedule begging the question: Why?

I get it. That’s why we play. I love competition and why compete if you’re just lining them up to knock them down? What does Usain Bolt learn about himself by racing grandma even with a cheetah taped to her back? We challenge ourselves to learn and grow. To that effect I applaud the Trojans’ effort.

But at what point does it become masochism? Why play the country’s toughest schedule to bury your season before it begins? SOS is only a factor of RPI and RPI is only a factor of the selection committee’s. The group that ultimately holds the fate of 37 teams.

Because that’s what college hoops becomes: A beauty pageant to ensure you’re invited to The Dance. Playing and winning a tough schedule is like nailing the talent portion of the pageant. Playing and getting annihilated through a tough schedule? This:

Unfortunately, KO’s group is heading down the path of the latter.

But the course will toughen them and come Pac-12 time, there will be little that surprises this team. I’m just curious if they won’t already be broken.

Multiple Reasons for Optimism in the Galen Center

USC has a lot to look forward to this year and it has become somewhat of a national dialogue as they return a whole new look from last year’s injury debacle.

  1. Demon Deacons – The Trojans welcome two former Wake Foresters in JT Terrell and Ari Stewart. Terrell has the bigger upside with regards to immediate impact as he’ll be asked to light it up from distance; something he certainly can do.
  2. The Keck School – In case you’re unfamiliar, that’s USC’s medical school. A place that’s now nursed Jio Fontan, Dewayne Dedmon, and Aaron Fuller back to health. That’s a lot of injured talent the Trojans were missing last year and now regain.
  3. Sweat – KO has repeatedly called this the hardest working group he’s ever coached which is saying something considering the demanding nature of KO-ball. And, as we’ve learned from an early age, hard work usually translates into success!
  4. Shoulders – I’m not talking about Aaron Fuller’s now healthy ones. I’m talking about the chip on the collective Trojan shoulder. KO has referenced it and one has to believe that any group cast off as many times as this patchwork lineup has been, would likely have an axe to grind. Or a chip on their shoulder, pick your cliché.
  5. Two – That’s the number of conference games they’ll need to win to improve on last season’s total. Hey! Baby steps.
  6. Quack – Another shot at the Ducks! Too soon?
  7. Lottery – KO once called Dewayne Dedmon a future pick by a team on a Ping-Pong ball. His 2011-12 campaign was shortened by knee injury as the seven-footer continues to learn the game. If in his time off he’s pieced together a little more basketball acumen, look out, the Trojans just might live up to their rebuilt hype.